Gott Nytt Ar!!! Shimanov wins 41st Rilton Cup in Stockholm

1/10/2012 – This beautiful event was won by Russian GM Aleksandr Shimanov, who is also a singing talent. Our reporter Alina l'Ami started with a 1-0-1-0-1-0-1 tic-tac-toe score, but then drew a game and won her last one to pocket her third IM norm. Amazing, since the Romanian WGM spent a lot of time exploring the delights of the Swedish capital. Here's her big illustrated report.

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Impressions from Stockholm

By WGM Alina l'Ami

10-9-8…3-2-1 – Gott Nytt Ar!!! – as the Swedish would say at the beginning of a new year, in the universal hope to get it right this time. Probably some of the very ambitious and passionate resolutions have already been forgotten and the old habits are back in town. Nevertheless, ten days ago, at 24 o’clock, an invisible bridge was connecting us all. As for the undersigned: new year, same goal. But this time, I promised myself I’ll start the changes right from the very moment when the good ideas will sprout inside of my head.

Said and done: like a real chess player I was also ‘partying’ in the night of January 1st by checking some Nimzo. That’s partly because of the love I have for the game, but the main triggering force was the scheduled round five on the same day in the Rilton Cup, held in Stockholm between 27th December 2011 – 6th January 2012.


Starting from Jan. 1st GM Ulf Andersson was on duty, commenting the games for the grateful public

One could also watch the live games on this giant screen, if coming closer to the boards was too difficult. And believe me, sometimes it really was, especially in time trouble.

Before you start raising your eyebrows, questioning the pleasure of playing chess on a day when any ‘normal’ person is resting after a memorable party, you should intuitively know that for the rare species of chess players, there is no better entertainment than a game of chess –- preferably a won one. What if it’s a big zero we are talking about?! You shouldn’t worry too much if it happens in Stockholm, in the beautiful event held every year around the same dates.


Monika Socko playing against her husband Bartosz – at least the point will remain in the family


Dragan Solak against Tejas Bakre


Grzegorz Gajewski against Axel Smith

The city, the hotel, the tournament hall, the organizers efforts, they all come together to create a unique and special chess atmosphere. And personally, it worked well for me. If the start was a bit shaky, after a series of 1-0-1-0-1-0-1 (this looks more like tic-tac-toe than chess results), in round eight I stopped the negative sequence by drawing my game and winning the last round. Thanks to this finish, I am back to Holland with a third IM norm in my pocket, which also contributes to the positive vibes I have for the tournament. Simply put, it is a wonderful event – no wonder it reached its 41st edition, with more than 200 players participating in the three different rating groups: Rilton Cup, Rilton Elo and Rilton Open.


The children of the GMs also enjoyed the tournament: Szymon and Weronika Socko, Anna Cramling Bellon

The Rilton Cup is the main tournament, open for players with a higher, national or international, rating than 2200, so you can imagine it was not a piece of cake. Despite the tough lineup, Aleksandr Shimanov from Russia won the tournament, unshared, with 7.5 out of 9!

Final standings (after nine rounds)

Rk Name
Ti
FED
Rtg
Pts
TB1
1 Shimanov Aleksandr
GM
RUS
2549
7.5
40.5
2 Cicak Slavko
GM
SWE
2566
6.5
36.5
3 Solak Dragan
GM
TUR
2629
6.5
34.0
4 Ivanov Sergey
GM
RUS
2537
6.5
34.0
5 Socko Bartosz
GM
POL
2635
6.5
32.5
6 Gajewski Grzegorz
GM
POL
2616
6.0
33.0
7 Tikkanen Hans
GM
SWE
2586
6.0
32.5
8 Brynell Stellan
GM
SWE
2486
6.0
32.0
9 L'Ami Erwin
GM
NED
2594
6.0
31.5
10 Bakre Tejas
GM
IND
2509
6.0
31.0
11 Volkov Sergey
GM
RUS
2626
6.0
30.5
12 Sipilä Vilka
FM
FIN
2316
6.0
30.0
13 Nithander Victor
IM
SWE
2423
6.0
29.0
14 Karlsson Lars
GM
SWE
2485
6.0
28.0
15 Rozentalis Eduardas
GM
LTU
2586
5.5
33.0
16 Smith Axel
IM
SWE
2480
5.5
31.5
17 Lindberg Bengt
IM
SWE
2415
5.5
30.0
18 Socko Monica
GM
POL
2479
5.5
27.0
19 Nielsen Fries Jens Ove
IM
DEN
2387
5.5
25.5
20 Berczes David
GM
HUN
2555
5.0
29.0
21 Bellon Juan
GM
ESP
2419
5.0
28.5
22 Denisov Ivan
RUS
2348
5.0
28.0
23 Johansson Linus
SWE
2197
5.0
28.0
24 Åkesson Ralf
GM
SWE
2421
5.0
27.5
25 Semcesen Daniel
IM
SWE
2490
5.0
27.5
26 Sagit Rauan
FM
SWE
2368
5.0
26.0
27 Furhoff Johan
IM
SWE
2370
5.0
22.5
28 Codenotti Marco
FM
ITA
2293
5.0
21.5
29 Rasmussen Allan Stig
GM
DEN
2541
5.0
21.0
30 Blomqvist Erik
IM
SWE
2477
5.0
20.5
31 Pettersson Anders
SWE
2207
5.0
18.0


The winner, with 7.5/9 points: Russian GM Aleksandr Shimanov

But Shimanov's victory was not as smooth and easy as some might imagine. On the contrary, to the public’s delight, tension and drama were part of the whole picture. There was the critical round six, when Aleksandr was playing with black on board one against… Erwin l’Ami, my husband. I was happily watching the game online up to the point when I almost fell from my chair: from a completely winning position, after a long and beautiful game, in the sixth hour of playing – there came the blunder: Erwin missed the mating threat devilishly set by his opponent and went into losing the game.

[Event "XLI Rilton Cup 2011-12"] [Site "Stockholm SWE"] [Date "2012.01.02"] [Round "6.1"] [White "L'Ami, Erwin"] [Black "Shimanov, Aleksandr"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E92"] [WhiteElo "2594"] [BlackElo "2549"] [PlyCount "158"] [EventDate "2011.12.27"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 O-O 5. Nf3 d6 6. Be2 e5 7. Be3 Ng4 8. Bg5 f6 9. Bh4 Nc6 10. d5 Ne7 11. Nd2 Nh6 12. f3 c5 13. Rb1 g5 14. Bf2 f5 15. Nf1 g4 16. Ng3 gxf3 17. Bxf3 Ng4 18. Nxf5 Nxf2 19. Nxe7+ Qxe7 20. Kxf2 Bg4 21. Ke2 Qg5 22. Kd3 Bxf3 23. gxf3 Qg2 24. Rf1 Qxh2 25. Qe2 Qh3 26. Rf2 Rf6 27. Rbf1 Raf8 28. Kc2 a6 29. Nd1 Bh6 30. Rh2 Qd7 31. Rfh1 Bf4 32. Qg2+ Kh8 33. Rxh7+ Qxh7 34. Rxh7+ Kxh7 35. Nf2 Rh6 36. Ng4 Rh4 37. a3 Kh8 38. b4 b6 39. Kb3 Bc1 40. bxc5 bxc5 41. Ka4 Rh7 42. Ka5 Rb8 43. Nf6 Rh6 44. Nd7 Rg8 45. Qa2 Bg5 46. Qb2 Rh7 47. Nb8 Bd8+ 48. Ka4 Bg5 49. Qb6 Rh6 50. Nd7 Rd8 51. Qc6 Bd2 52. Nb6 Rh3 53. Qc7 Bg5 54. Nc8 Rh7 55. Qc6 Rf7 56. Nxd6 Rf6 57. Qxc5 Rfxd6 58. Qg1 Bf6 59. c5 R6d7 60. c6 Rc7 61. Qc5 Be7 62. Qc3 Bd6 63. Qc1 Rh7 64. Qg5 Rf8 65. Qg6 Bc5 { Erwin chose to play} 66. Qe6 $2 ({instead of} 66. d6 {and White should promote a queen or win a lot of material and the game.}) {which allowed Black to play} 66... Rxf3 {Rxf3 and threaten a fatal mate on a3.} {The game continued with} 67. Qxe5+ Kg8 {Probably shocked by his last move and under time pressure, White gave the wrong check} 68. Qe8+ $4 {allowing the Black king to run, hide and eventually win the battle.} ({White was not yet lost, white can still make a draw by a perpetual check:} 68. Qe6+ Kf8 69. Qc8+ Kf7 70. Qe6+ {and the Black king cannot really escape, while the rook on f3 is also vulnerable.}) 68... Kg7 69. Qe5+ Kg8 70. Qe8+ Kg7 71. Qe5+ Kg6 72. Qe6+ Kg5 73. Qg8+ Kf4 74. Qb8+ Kxe4 75. Qb1+ Ke5 76. Qb8+ Kxd5 77. Qg8+ Rhf7 78. Qg5+ Kxc6 79. Qg6+ Kc7 0-1

Not a happy moment for our family, but tiredness is and will always be a part of the game, not to mention the winner’s luck, which everybody needs it to finish in first position. Of course, most important of all, Aleksandr showed his class in the upcoming games, and convincingly won the competition.


Let's Check evaluation curve for the critical phase

We also had the pleasure to listen Aleksandr's hidden talent: singing! The end of the closing ceremony took an informal character and we could all enjoy a beautiful song, sang by none other than the winner himself, during the previous edition of the same Rilton Cup! It was a lovely moment and Aleksandr has nothing to be embarrassed of.

Stockholm is a fantastic place to explore and I can tell you that you’ll want to come back, in all seasons if possible. For us it was rather warm this winter, no snow and no minus 20 degrees but with the common short Nordic days, when darkness is taking over around 15 o’clock!

Settled on 14 islands (I will go even further by naming them "treasure islands"), Stockholm struck me with its spider infrastructure web, with its trains, buses, trams, bridges of all shapes and sizes, connecting the water and the land in just one single universe. I was never sure if I was going from one island to the other, I had no clue where the sea starts and where it ends, and the canals… they are real watery avenues, with the huge number of boats and ships.

And yet, Stockholm was declared the green EU capital in 2010! I perfectly understand that if I think about the repetitive words visible everywhere: environmentally friendly, eco, bio, organic, green, etc. If for many countries this is still a goal to be accomplished, in Sweden it’s a way of life, a greener one. And quite expensive if you ask me.


The old town, Gamla Stan, is a compact maze of narrow streets,
apperently built for thin people with sturdy ankles!

In short about Sweden’s capital: besides ABBA and IKEA, in Stockholm the taxi drivers open the door for you (of course, for 60 Euro who wouldn’t). People are rather tall – sometimes I felt like Gulliver in the giants’ world. Everything is clean and the streets are narrow; a lot of Arabs and Asians; everybody speaks English (which is great); the cars allow you to cross the street even if it’s red (and they don’t even use the horn!); people are direct and positive (at least from my experience); but I wanted to speak about something else, because all of that you can easily find in a guide book.


The City Hall, unfortunately closed for tours during our free day, on the December 31st

History, traditions, architecture, this is what belongs to every nation, the unique thing which makes a difference and stands the country out of the crowd. People don’t go to Stockholm for Adidas or Macdonalds – you can find that anywhere. What was I looking for, when I went out? Something new. Their architecture is amazing! I didn’t know what I should shoot, everything is so different, so original, so old, so neat – this is the Sweden's capital, the way I experienced it, during the ten days of the Rilton Cup.



The last travelling bit is to show you that chess can offer such a wide palette of emotions, related or not to the game itself. And, as I was oftenly re-assured, Stockholm can be even nicer during summer time. You can see for yourself in June, when the Stockholm Chess Federation will organize another chess event, to commemorate 100 years since the Olympic Games were held in 1912, in the same city you could see in all the above pictures.

Have a fantastic 2012 and see you in the next tournament!


Links

The games were broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 11 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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